A Guide to Plumbers Insurance Cover

Here is a plumber fitting a new radiator. Plumbers Insurance Cover will help protect them if something goes wrong

In this guide, we will explain what options you have for plumbers insurance cover. Once you have the information you need, you can get a quote by visiting our plumbers insurance page.

You don’t have to insure everything. But your plumbing and heating work isn’t without risks.  It is your personal choice based on how much risk you want to take on without insurance.

The exception to this is if you have employees.

If you have employees, you need to arrange Employers Liability Insurance by law. This needs to include people that help you out on a temporary basis. More on that below.

The other covers you can choose from aren’t compulsory but could be a sound choice for your business.

In this guide, you will find out about the most common plumbers insurance cover:

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Employers Liability Insurance
  • Tools Insurance
  • Legal Expenses Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance
  • Personal Accident Insurance

Read on to find out more.

Public Liability Insurance

Public liability is a key plumbers insurance cover.

There is always a risk of something going wrong, no matter how skilled or careful you and your team are.

Sometimes mistakes can lead to damage to property or injury to someone. This is what public liability insurance is for.  If this happens and someone makes a claim against your business, you will have cover for the legal costs.

The cover would also pay for any successful claim award up to the amount of indemnity you have bought.

Public liability insurance isn’t compulsory. But, without the cover, could you afford to fund a claim out of your own pocket? Most people and businesses couldn’t.

The most common public liability insurance claim for plumbers is escape of water. Often because of something that’s not fitted how it should be.   Push fit pipes are a particular risk for causing leaks and water damage.

An example of a personal injury claim against plumbers is a slip or a trip.

You can protect yourself and limit the chances of a claim by:

  1. Ensuring your team are competent for the job.
  2. Work areas are safe and tidy.  Free from anything that could cause injury.
  3. Ensuring installations are pressure checked and tested
  4. Checking  the area you are working in for any defective plumbing issues. If there are issues, make sure they are fixed. If they are outside of the job, highlight your recommendations in writing to the client.

Most insurers will add a condition to help you manage the risk of escape of water and damage claims.

Your insurer will need you to inspect your work on completion and keep a written record. The record should include the date and time of the inspection and who did it. If there is a claim against your business, your insurance company will ask for this.

So how much public liability insurance cover should you buy?

The answer is usually as much as you can afford. No one knows what is around the corner.

If you think about what the value of the biggest claim could be. If you are unlucky, you could have more than one in a year.

The levels of cover you can buy are, £1 million, £2 million and £5 million. Sometimes, the other firms you are working with could request £10m.

Most insurance policies will go up to £5m online. You can buy a separate policy (an excess of loss policy) to top the cover up to £10m if you need to.

Employers Liability Insurance

Do have any permanent or temporary employees (such as a friend helping you out)?  If you do, by law you will need to include Employers Liability. You can easily add this to your plumbers insurance cover.

Failing to do so will result in a fine of £2,500 for every day you don’t have adequate insured.

You will get a fine of £1,000 if you do not display your Employers Liability certificate at your premises. You can also get a fine if you refuse to make it available to inspectors when they ask.

The law says you need to buy at least £5m cover. But you will find many insurers will provide £10m. Most will restrict this to £5m if injury or death relates to asbestos or terrorism.

Many businesses get this wrong when they misunderstand what an employee is.

Your insurance policy does provide some guidance on this and will say something like:

  1. An employee is any person under a contract of service or apprenticeship with you
  2. Any labour master or labour only subcontractor or person supplied or employed by them
  3. Any self-employed person
  4. Any person hired to or borrowed by you
  5. Any person engaged under a work experience, youth training or similar scheme
  6. Any voluntary helper
  7. Any outworker or homeworker

It will then say that each would need to be:

  • under your control and supervision
  • And be working for you in connection with Your Business.

The policy will also say, this definition excludes any bona fide sub-contractor. Bona fide sub-contractors need to insure their own employees.

Tools Insurance

You might want to consider including tools insurance in your plumbers insurance cover.

But, if your tools aren’t worth much, it may not be worth buying this cover. Most insurers will want an excess of £250-£500 per loss.

An excess is your contribution towards any claim.

You might want to consider insuring your tools against theft or loss.

But, if your tools aren’t worth much, it may not be worth buying this cover. Most insurers will want an excess of £250-£500 per loss (an excess is your contribution towards any claim).

If you leave your tools lying around and they get stolen, you may not have cover for this.  Most insurers will expect you to be careful with your tools and when they aren’t in use, you will need to lock them away.

Your tools are generally covered against theft where:

  • They are in a locked building.
  • Within a locked container (in a locked compound or yard).

Many won’t cover your tools in a vehicle.

Insuristic will, if they vehicle is locked and alarmed and situated:

  • On the driveway of your home; or
  • Within an attended or locked garage, compound or yard

You can insure your tools and take out additional cover to insure your employees tools.

If you need to make a claim, you will need to prove ownership and provide a police crime number.

You should keep an inventory of your tools and keep copies of receipts.

You should keep an inventory of your tools and keep copies of receipts. If you have a theft, the insurer will also need a police crime number.

Legal Expenses Insurance

Legal expenses insurance is often overlooked but it is very valuable cover.

It will cover the costs of a range of legal disputes, with the cost not exceeding the cover you have bought.

The cover can vary depending on insurance provider. Insuristic offers £100k of legal expenses cover on its plumbing scheme.

The cover will respond to a range of legal disputes. The key areas of cover for plumbers are:

  • Contract disputes (particularly if someone isn’t paying you).
  • Tax disputes
  • Employee disputes and compensation awards
  • Legal defence following a criminal investigation or enquiry

There are other covers like property disputes, regulatory investigations and more.

For the low cost, it is well worth the protection.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

A professional indemnity policy provides protection against claims and defence following negligent advice.  It excludes claims relating to an incorrect design, build, maintenance or installation.

A public liability policy would respond if you do work that causes damage.

A business should consider PI insurance if they provide safety certifications. For example, if you sign off an appliance as safe, and it turns out it wasn’t, the client could sue you for any losses they suffer. A PI policy would pay for your defence and damages (up to the amount of cover you have bought).

Facing a claim like this can be very expensive. Even if you weren’t proven to be at fault the legal expense can be high.

 So, if you provide advice, you might want to consider adding professional indemnity to your plumbers insurance cover

Personal Accident Insurance

A personal accident policy provides a lump sum if someone is injured or killed. It doesn’t need to happen whilst they are at work. You don’t have to prove negligence, just that something has happened.

There might be some policy exclusions. For example:

  • the injured person is working higher than allowed.
  • someone is injured doing some high risk sport not allowed by the policy

The lump sum is paid to your business and you can use it however you need to. You could:

  • Use the money to pay for their replacement whilst they recover.
  • Pay overtime to cover the absence
  • Other costs that occur because of the lost employee

Personal accident cover be a very useful addition to your plumbers insurance cover.

I hope this helps you understand the cover you need. 

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About the Author

Rob Faulkner CEO of Insuristic

Hi, I'm Rob, CEO and Founder of Insuristic. My mission is to make insurance easier to understand and buy online.

I hold an Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) which demonstrates I have a solid technical understanding of Insurance and have committed to continuous professional development. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and hold the a Chartered Insurance Broker status.

Over the last 27 years, I have worked for insurers, insurance brokers and insurance technology businesses, specialising in product, sales and marketing.

You can find out more about me on my author page.

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